Static Bursts and Then Static Over Music

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Intel Nuc Kit NUC8i3BEH with 128GB SSD. Running ROCK; OS Version 1 Build 227; Software Version 1.8 Build 778.

Network

On ethernet is ROCK; Melco N1A Music Server; Magna Audio Mano Network Player. All direct connected via ethernet cable to the modem/router. Remote is Macbook operating via Wi-Fi.

Audio

Audio is via Magna Mano streamer feeding a Denafrips Terminator DAC using an I2S over HDMI cable connection.

Description Of Issue

I have problems with occasional burst of static that occurs when a track changes and once the music starts, static over the music. It only occurs on the right channel. I have researched other posts related to static or noises during playback and my problem seems different than other problems that have been reported here. My issue is not related to changes in sampling rate. And increasing the resynch delay seems to have no effect.

The one thing that seems to fix the problem when it happens is turning the DAC to standby and then turning on again.

Support or anyone with ideas? Am I the only one to have this issue?

Hi @Robert_Atkinson

Just to confirm, does this happen with any other endpoints?

Are you using any DSP settings? Does disabling them if so result in any change?

Hi Dylan – Thanks for responding. I have a AudioPro speaker in the bedroom as the only other endpoint and I have never noticed it there. I think I have tried in the past to disable all DSP and the problem still occurred. I do now run an HAF convolution filter and headroom management. I will disable those and see if I can get the problem to reoccur. But I suspect (as before) the problem will still occur. If it does, what do you think is the cause?

My Denafrips PONTUS II is having crazy static issues at random as well. I systematically rebooted all pieces along my signal path and it was still present until I cycled the power on the DAC itself. We should compare notes to see if this continues because I am concerned it could be a Denafrips issue…

Hey Philip – Glad to know I’m not the only one! Was starting to think I was going crazy. I did contact Alvin @ Denafrips and he was very good about it. He did not try to put it off on Roon at all. I believed he discussed it with the factory and emailed me to request I use my Terminator via the SPDIF connection and see if the problem persists. I have not given that a fair test yet, because the static issue has not reoccured in a long time while on my normal I2S connection. The only thing I changed was the location of the various pieces of kit.

I had Roon Core (on a Nuc); Magna Mano Music Streamer (running Ropieee); Melco HDD Library and DAC all co-located with the stereo. I was hoping co-locating everything would limit network interference which is what I thought was causing the issues. But this necessitated using a switch at the stereo location.

Recently I tried moving Roon Core near the router in a utility room, and moved the Melco Library to an upstairs closet. Everything is still on ethernet and now only the Mano Streamer requires an internet connection at the stereo location. This allowed me to retire the switch. Everything now wires direct to the router. I mention this and the equipment I have in the hopes that we may have some parallels in equipment or set up that might trace back to cause.

Robert:

My setup is very simple. My Roon core is running on a latest generation NUC, which is also my end-point, with a direct USB connection into the Pontus II. My music library is on a Synology NAS on the same gigabit Ethernet switch, mounted to the NUC. I use three different Roon controllers (iPad, iPhone, MacOS Client). My network switch, NAS, NUC, etc are all within 2 meters of each other and on high quality, short Ethernet cables.

I’ve experienced the static twice, first time was about a week ago, and today was the second time. In both cases, I had left my DAC on for several days straight without placing it into standby mode at all. The static was very pronounced and was only present when music was playing (if there was a natural pause in the music, or if I paused Roon playback, the static stops).

I rebooted my NUC (so that’s the entire Roon system - since its all collapsed into one machine) and once it came back up, I continued playing music where I left off and the static continued to be present.

I then cycled the power on my integrated, and the static continued, same as before.

I then unplugged my NUC from the DAC by removing the USB cable, plugged it back in, started play back again (Roon pauses automatically once the USB device [the DAC] is removed) and the static continued, unchanged.

I then put the DAC into standby mode (I did not unplug the power connector, I just pressed the standby button) - left it in standby for about one second, then took the DAC off standby, and the static went away immediately.

I’m leaving my DAC on nonstop now and will see how many days it takes again for this issue to resurface. I’ve submitted this with Denafrips online to see if they have any advice.

Since I rebooted my entire Roon system and have the most basic Roon setup possible (all running on a NUC with a direct USB connection to the DAC), and since the problem goes away after putting the DAC into standby mode, I feel the issue is likely due to a flaw in the DAC. It is possible a firmware update might be needed, or there could be a defective part that fails after a certain amount of time and is reset after the DAC goes into standby mode. For instance, if there is a drifting clock or a buffer that fills up the noise could be present from a certain point onward until its reset with the standby switch.

With your system, I think a really good next step would be to do the same as me and do a power cycle now, then record the date/time and do not power off or put the Denafrips into standby mode again - we can see if it fails after a certain amount of time comparable to mine.

I installed this DAC brand new on 23 March, and this issue has happened twice already. I think its been about a week since the last time. I will be taking good notes on this from here out.

Hope this all helps… Will continue to update here in this thread.

FYI - I just looked through my text messages and the first instance of the static noise was on 1 April in the evening. I started putting my DAC into standby mode after that for a few days then just started to leave it on again, so I think it took about a week to start making the static sound.

From Denafrips today:

It seems like the USB out of sync issue.

Do you have a Windows PC to update the USB MCU firmware V3.4.1?
Guide: https://www.denafrips.com/firmware-update-usb

Moreover, for roon, would you please adjust the Resync Delay to 500mS in your settings.

Please let me know sir.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Alvin Chee

VINSHINE AUDIO (SINGAPORE) · Global Distributor of DENAFRIPS

Whatsapp: +6588534576 | www.vinshineaudio.com | 11 Woodlands Close, #05-23, Singapore 737853 (By appt only)

Philip – did you ever get resolution on the system going to full volume with static problem? My problem seemed to go away, but now is back again. Just happened about 10 min ago and once again scared the … outtta me. This is crazy!

Hello Dylan. Back in March you were helping with this problem. But then I did not hear anything more from Support. I see others are having the same problem. Has there been any further work done to ID the problem and remedy it? This is a potentially system killing issue! Having your system go from music to full volume distortion is not only not fun, its not good for the heart either.

Robert,

Oddly the problem went away from the firmware upgrade and did not happen again until two weeks ago. Since then, it happened twice - once again last night. I have been in contact with Vinshine Audio and they have been making recommendations, but honestly - some of the things they have suggested are not things I would think are root causes. They recommended moving the USB port I use on my Roon NUC, and they recommended using a high quality USB cable. (I already have one). They then suggested next time the issue surfaces, I should pause the music and wait a few seconds, then start again - to see if the issue is being caused from Roon.

Yesterday when I had the issue, I waited a bit to get out my phone and try to record the audio, and in the process the track ended and a new track started on the album I was listening to. This ‘track switch’ resolved the issue oddly enough. So I am reporting this back to them. I suspect there is a firmware bug still in how this DAC interprets USB signals and the overall compatibility with Roon - but this is speculation on my part for the time being.

So bottom line - still working this out, but it seems to be something they can fix with firmware over time…

Phil

Hi Phil-- I was surprised when I read Alvin’s email to you as it indicated Denafrips is assuming this is USB related. I am using exclusively the I2S input on my Terminator. And, it seems we are experiencing the same exact symptoms. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to hypothesize that our issues have a common root cause? – Rob

I agree - which gives me pause in their troubleshooting methodology. They keep citing a USB related issue, but I don’t agree with their assessment. Have you contacted Denafrips yourself to let them know about your problem? They may not be aware this issue is across multiple interfaces. I do not have an i2s output capable device, so I cannot test any other input on my DAC.

I suspect the issue has to do with some signal clock that is at a higher level regardless of interface, but they just simplify their explanation and call it a ‘USB’ issue. I believe there is a language/translation barrier since the Vinshine tech support folks likely do not speak English natively…

Phil

Yes, I exchanged emails with Alvin. I believe it was back in March. I will send him another email now and tell him that you and I are communicating about this. Also ask him about our belief that the root cause is across interfaces and so must be operating at a higher, more primary level. Will update here with any developments.

I also wish that Roon Support would stay on this case. From reviewing this board, it seems they are responsive on many issues I would call minor problems. So I hope they can also get a focus on this issue as I fear it is capable of doing some real damage to our systems one of these days. – Rob

Just now encountered some strange behavior that may be related to this issue. Was listening to a playlist of tunes, some streaming from Qobuz and some on my server. Noticed “tick” sounds coming from the speakers with the music playing. By tick I mean the same sound you might get if you turned off your power amp before turning down the volume. It’s a sharp high energy sound and nastier than, say, a needle going over a scratch in an LP.

First the ticks were well separated in time, but as time progressed they got closer and closer together. I had the feeling this might be the precursor to another heart-stopping full volume distortion event, so cycled the Terminator DAC to standby and after a few seconds turned it back on. The ticks disappeared.

I am no EE so dont know if this makes any sense at all. But hafta say this is not the first time I have had the feeling that this issue comes on as if static electricity is building up over time until it hits some breaking point.

Hello again Dylan. I just had the loud static issue again. This time I turned the power amp off but left everything else play. I was playing a playlist that is playing all music from my Melco server, so there would be no Qobuz variable at play. Most of the server contents were uploaded from physical CDs. The track before the static was CD quality, uploaded from CD, the burst began when the next track began. It is a 192/24 track the album it is from was purchased from Qobuz and uploaded online. I left the amp off till the next track began. It is a CD quality track again uploaded from a physical CD. I turned the power amp back on and the music play is fine. I am now 3 or 4 tracks beyond and still all is OK. So new information here is: 1) Switching to a hi-rez source material appears to be a trigger. 2) When the source material goes back to CD quality the system recovers without intervention. Also I took screen shots when the static issue was happening. Let me know if you want to see them.



@support. It’s been 14 weeks since we have heard from anyone from Support on this issue. He asked a question, I answered and then he disappeared. I am not sure what this means. The cost/benefit of finding a solution is not worth it? He is no longer with Roon? Not enough information to yield a quick solution so just kinda quietly make an exit? Whatever it is, some kind of communication would be appreciated.

I2S over HDMI is the single most incompatible standard in the audio world because there are so many different variants among manufacturers, so we do not support it. I think there is a significant chance that this I2S incompatibility is causing you trouble.

You should try USB or SPDIF output from the streamer instead, and disable DSP Engine in Roon to simplify the path to narrow down the culprit.

In case this still does not work, you should try a direct connection from the Roon Core computer (must not be a Synology DSM7) to the DAC via USB. If this still does not work, try another OS for the Roon Core. If all fail, you should see if the DAC (via USB output) work in somebody else’s setup to make sure the DAC is not faulty.